Gas Lobby Wins Trademark Case for Good

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal judge Wednesday for the third time dismissed a trademark lawsuit against the American Petroleum Institute.
     Choose Energy, which analyzes and compares energy market data for consumers, sued API in October 2014 .
     During the 2014 election, API used the phrase “Choose Energy” in political ads to support pro-oil and -gas candidates. It also launched a website at www.choosenergy.org, which Choose Energy claimed was confusingly similar to its website, www.chooseenergy.com. The www.chooseenergy.org website has since been taken down.
     U.S. District Judge Paul Grewal dismissed Choose Energy’s first and first amended complaints , finding the claims failed to “pass muster” because API’s activities were political in nature and distinct from the services offered by Choose Energy.
     In its second amended complaint, Choose Energy added new claims about API activities unrelated to its Choose Energy campaign, which Grewal found irrelevant.
     “Nothing prohibits an organization from providing services in certain capacities and engaging in pure political speech in another,” Grewal wrote in the Sept. 9 ruling.
     Grewal said the question is not whether API provides services at all, but whether it provides services in connection with the Choose Energy mark.
     “Choose Energy again fails to allege competition as required by the Lanham Act,” Grewal wrote.
     Grewal dismissed Choose Energy’s second amended complaint and denied it leave to file another amended complaint.
     “We are disappointed by the decision,” Choose Energy’s attorney Michael Erikson said Wednesday. “Our intention is to continue to vigorously enforce our rights to our valuable trademark. The American Petroleum Institute’s misappropriation of the Choose Energy brand has caused confusion in the marketplace that is unacceptable to us.”
     Erikson is with Salt Lake City-based Ray Quinney & Nebeker.
     API’s attorney, Scott Mosko with Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner in Palo Alto, did not immediately return a request for comment.

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